Well wonderful news. If the memo of which I received a copy yesterday is real (and I am pretty sure it is) the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff have reauthorized the purchase of military coins.
MILITARY COINS ARE GOOD NEWS FOR COMMANDERS
It is a credit to commanders and senior noncommissioned officers that they paid from their own pockets for challenge coins for their service members. Commanders have long appreciated the need for a personal memento offered in appreciation for outstanding service. Custom coins offer this at a very affordable price. Soldiers will never forget who gave them a coin, what they got it for and where they got it. They are proud of the challenge coin aspect of the award too.
MILITARY COINS ARE GOOD FOR SOLDIERS
In a nutshell a military coin is presented by commanders when they catch someone doing good. That is the real beauty of challenge coin awards. Of course it is important for a service members career to receive the awards and decorations they deserve. Challenge coins are not a substitute for that. But these awards can take time. It is important to reward and reinforce good behavior when it happens. Not at the next awards ceremony. The presentation coin allows commanders and senior noncommissioned officers to do this at little expense to the government but with the maximized impact of an instant award.
CHALLENGE COINS AND THE SEQUESTER
The previous ban was an example of the sword “falling on the just and unjust alike”. Clearly the government spends a lot of money on challenge coins. What is often left from the discussion is the fact that compared to the awards that were used previously (such as plaques and trophies) military coins are a real bargain. If one believes that rewarding soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines is good business practice then lifting the sequester driven ban is just smart business.
LIFTING THE CHALLENGE COIN BAN WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO
Our leaders, the Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff certainly don’t need me to rate their performance. But I will take the liberty of saying that they made the right decision in this matter. Whether or not this is my business one thing is clear. Challenge coins have become a tradition in the military which is appreciated at all levels. It is right for commanders, senior staff officers and senior NCOs to honor and respect their troops and encourage them as much as possible. Nevertheless this was a hard decision I am sure. They made the right one.